My first trimester: what to expect & natural care
How did I know/suspect i was pregnant? Tiredness, nausea and “mental fog”; none of these symptoms are familiar to me on a regular basis, so I knew something had changed.
As my boyfriend and I were trying to be parents I remembered this right away – even though we weren’t being strict with timings for conception and we were having a pretty relaxed attitude about it. I wasn’t even taking supplementation, imagine! I decided to prepare for conception just by doing an intuitive diet, slow down the pace a bit (no trail runs for hours or intense HIIT exercises, working until 11pm and other more exhausting situations) and watch if my periods were regular in the last 6 months to get an idea of my fertile period.
The moment arrived; about 2 weeks after my missed period I began to feel different; I didn’t feel like eating certain foods i loved, I didn’t feel like doing most exercises i got used to, some of my activities (for work and leisure) became tedious and I felt super tired all the time… my breasts increased in size and got tender, my mouth produced saliva like nothing i have ever experienced, i woke up one or two times at night to urinate (!) … well, needless to say around the 5th week I bought a pregnancy test and voila! Pregnancy confirmed at 35 years of age.
Joy, happiness were the first to come up…but also some reservations that arose as expected in a first pregnancy: will these symptoms stay? I need lucidity and control of these seasickness so I can keep working! Was my diet and will it be enough? Are these changes that I am feeling normal? (sometimes I felt a “sting” on the bottom of my belly that are associated with the development of the uterus and supporting muscles for embryo implantation) What teas/infusions can I take? Can I continue my essential oils as part of my wellness routine? What’s next about medical surveillance? Well, a whirlwind of questions and some anxiety I had to learn to control right away.
Surveillance & Care
Well, the time has come to make my first appointment with my family doctor (GP) – it was costly, because this Covid-19 has left our health system chaotic! But I did mange to get it right away with a lot of persistence.
Followed prescription for supplements (because of folic acid and other important vitamins this phase – I then leave the description of each) and exams, hospital referral for screening and a quick talk about pregnancy care. Here, dear reader, I suggest you take all written questions if you are not in the health area and have unanswered questions and fears to shake – health professionals have a duty to inform us, but we also have to expose our concerns!
From my research and experience throughout this pregnancy, I was able to ascertain some useful information and demystify some fears; the tips I can offer you, through my experience and knowledge as a Health and Nutrition Coach, are general tips: for your specific needs it will be necessary a propper assessment – see here how you can work with me)
Daily calorie intake increase: May not be necessary at this stage.
Breakfast YES, always. Four meals a day. Avoid trans fats, artificial sweeteners, sugary products. Avoid alcoholic beverages (ideally eliminate). Reduce caffeine: 1 coffee/day. Bet on iodated sea salt or salt flower. More tips: watch the following video for do´s and dont´s during pregancy.
Multivitamin: what your doctor prescribes; personally I like the synergies of TerraNova and Viridian, but because I studied the constituents carefully; if you don’t know, ask a specialist or your family doctor! More details: watch the following video.
Probiotics: live yogurts, sauerkraut, kimchi, milk or water kefir, tempeh, miso, etc. suggest special attention to probiotics in supplement, especially if you have a history of intestinal inflammation, allergies, constipation or recurrent infections. You may need supplementation.
Safe Herbalism: Ginger for nausea and vomiting. in capsules, tincture or extract. St. John’s wort as an antidepressant or to control other mood fluctuations. Siberian ginseng: adaptogenic for anxious/stressed people; immune system support. In saquets, tinctures, capsules. American arando: prevention of urinary tract infections; tea form (leaves), powder, capsules, etc. ALWAYS under the guidance and supervision of a specialist. Although these plants are already studied in pregnancy, caution is needed in their use to avoid poisoning.
For potential symptoms following the increase in HCG (human corionic gonadotrophy) after the 4th week of gestation (since egg implantation) and for your safety, watch the following video. Infused water with ginger and mint, aromatherapy with lemon and deep breathing did wonders for me to keep nausea controlled. Drink plenty of fluids, rest and try to incorporate nutrient-dense foods to avoid cravings.
I never had issues with vomiting or significant bowel changes (such as cramps or constipation) – not all pregnant women experience them; however they can occur and, in the case of vomiting, requires double attention because of the risk of loss of important electrolytes and nutrients (perhaps requiring medication to cease vomiting); in the case of intestinal changes, remember that these too shall pass: for constipation just increase fluid and fiber intake and in the case of colics make some adjustments in the diet to avoid stimulants and other foods with inflammatory potential, application of local heat, physical activity, etc. Of course, in extreme cases of cramps or constipation a specialist should be consulted immediately.
Hair, skin and nails may even become more weakened during this period, instead of the image “sold” of the pregnant woman that shines! I speak for myself: the hair became duller, had more black spots appearing not only on the face, but around my tights, plus the nails turned brittle; but I have also read that the same is true for many pregnant women at this stage and that there is no need to worry unless there is an intense hair loss or very significant skin changes.
Fortunately, in my case, the symptoms began to fade around the 9th to 10th week; I could think and smell food! Ahhh 😊 Everything was preparing for the next steps of surveillance: screening at 12 weeks (us scan and some blood work); there is always a good bit of anxiety when doing this ultrasound – see for the first time that being that generates inside you, see the contours, hands, legs, feet, head…realise that all is good (because at this stage you can´t feel the baby, so doubts emerge); it is undoubtedly an emotional moment, that fills the heart when you realize that you´re going to be a mom!
To learn more, week by week, about what may be happening to your body during pregnancy this quarter I suggest reading this piece of information.
If you’re still planning to get pregnant and want to learn more about fertility and how to optimize it naturally, read this post.